Megachurches Reaching Out to the Local Economy?

In news insight on November 24, 2007 at 11:01 am

SmartChristian posted an entry from the New York Times on Megachurches making a point of fostering economic growth in the communities they minister to.

At first glance, I thought this was a pretty good idea. I believe the church should be doing a lot of what the current government is doing (foster care, welfare, food stamps, education, etc.) so why not add economic stimulation to the list? Well, I think the answer lies in the article itself:

In addition, there is WC Properties, a for-profit unit that manages the church’s shopping center, called Community at the Village, where a Subway outlet, an eye-care shop and other businesses share space with church programs that draw traffic to the mall.

This seems like an unequal yoke. A church using its influence in a community to draw people to a place that uses its influence to promote greed, self-centered lifestyles, vanity, etc. I am not saying that malls are a bad thing of course, but certainly love of temporal possessions is. The Bible warns us against these types of business arrangements, so we should steer clear of them even if they could bring more people to a church event.

So, my question is, what should Christians be doing to promote economic prosperity in their communities? Tim Keller makes a good argument for local business owners to be involved in the communities their businesses operate in because if you live where you work then you are pouring money back into the same community you are drawing your pay from and the people will prosper. What do you think?


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